Manchuria has played a central role in the historyand politics of East Asia in
the twentieth century.This region is presently in the northeast portion of the
People’s Republic of China, an area of great importance for global politics
and economy. In this century Manchuria has been home to Chinese, Kore-
ans, and Japanese, whose collective histories as inhabitants are intertwined
in complex relationships only partly described by nationalist and colonial-
ist forces. Recent works have shed considerable light on the struggles of
these national groups within Manchuria but as this book argues, an impor-
tant dimension of their history has been neglected: global capitalism and
their situation as actors within
Capitalism, this book shows, was the pri-
mary determinant of social relations in Manchuria. Grasping the nature of
these relations is key to understanding the history of Manchuria from the
late nineteenth century to the end of World War II. A new interpretation of
social relations in Manchuria leads to a rethinking of the origins of the North
Korean revolution and ultimately the origins of the current nationalism of
the North Korean state. The revolution in North Korea that followed World
War II saw itself as developing out of Korean resistance to Japan in Manchu-
ria. Today, the North Korean state still represents its nationalism as based
upon the Manchurian social experience.
This book considers the role of global capitalism in the processes of na-
tion formation and colonization in two ways. Firstly, it involves a social ap-
proach to nationalism and colonialism, embedding them in the process of
capitalist expansion, with a focus on the social sphere as the site of analysis.
The clash between nationalist and colonialist forces over sovereignty took
place not merely in the political arena of the struggle for independence but
also in the social relations of commodity production and exchange. Recent
cultural studies contribute to an understanding of nationalism and colonial-
ism beyond their opposition and demonstrate their innate links, exposing
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